Author: Tonya Olsen
Photographers: Sara Boulter, Jessica Mauss, and Amy Herndon
Publisher: Plain Sight Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-9881745-3-5

“The intent is for you to glean ideas and inspiration from the variety of spaces, details, and projects in this book and then add your own spice,” Tonya Olsen states in the introduction of her book, Room Recipes: A Creative and Stylish Guide to Interior Design.

This two hundred and seventy-two page hardbound book targets those interested in interior design with a more simplistic yet creative, stylish approach. From thumbnail to full-page colorful exhibits, three photographers offer detailed and expressive examples on almost every page. After an introduction and word of advice, there are six main chapters followed by an appendix.

Although the author claims she is not a good chef, she correlates her book to cookbook recipes, complete with a palette of colors, a list of ingredients, detailed instructions, and highlighting with garnishes to make the room finished. Her words of advice range from determining the scope of the project and clearly communicating to consider using existing items, knowing there will be complications, and taking time to enjoy the process.

Divided into color-coded sections, the book provides four different entrances, eight living rooms, seven dining rooms, seven bedrooms, four work areas, and five wash rooms of many individuals’ homes created by several different professional designers including the author. Each has the color palette used, items needed, suggested combinations, arrangements, additions, and mixes, do-it-yourself projects to garnish, and ample photographs showing details and examples.

Readers can choose from a Colonial-style entry way, barn dance family room in a basement, classic dining area full of antiques, whitewashed Bohemian bedroom, black and white craft room, or earthy, organic textured bathroom to name a few. Some of the DIY projects involve an Instagram wall, reverse plywood silhouettes, magnetic memo panel, wooden wall peg rack, terrarium, or chicken wire frame.

The appendix has helpful inspiration and shopping resources, acknowledgements, photographers, contributors, and both paint color and alphabetical indexes along with the author’s biography. The only minor complaint could be the small, hard-to-read print under the Garnish sections.

Next time you are in the mood to change up the living or family room, bedroom or bath, or create a new design in a room, this is an excellent source of ideas that are classic, stylish, and creative.

Thanks to Cedar Fort Publishing for furnishing this book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.


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